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Van Avermaet, Trentin, Zakarin center stage in CCC Team’s restarted season

Team plans to give all riders heavy early-season schedules to assess form after long racing pause.

CCC Team confirmed the schedules of its key riders Tuesday, with Greg Van Avermaet, Matteo Trentin, and Ilnur Zakarin all set to take key roles in the restarted season.

The trio will all ride this summer’s Tour de France (August 29 to September 20) as they hunt for stages and take aim at the GC with 30-year-old Russian Zakarin.

Van Avermaet and Trentin will also lead the team at the classics, pairing up at Milano-Sanremo and the northern one-dayers in fall. Van Avermaet starts his season at Strade Bianche on August 1 with hopes of victory, though his main one-day focus will remain on his perennial goals at Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. Trentin will get back to racing after the coronavirus stop with a leadership role at Vuelta a Burgos later this month.

Time trial talent Patrick Bevin will headline the team at the Giro d’Italia alongside sprinter Jakub Mareczko, with Zakarin returning to action to lead the team at the Vuelta a España at the close of the year.

CCC Team plans to give all its riders a front-loaded calendar to enable directors to assess form after the unprecedented racing stop and pin down full rider rosters from there.

“Our goal when creating our calendar for the remainder of the season was to maximize the number of races in early August and give all of our riders the opportunity to get back to the start line as quickly as possible,” said sports manager Steve Bauer. “For this reason, we have locked in races such as Vuelta a Burgos, La Route d’Occitanie, and Tour de l’Ain to build up to the key WorldTour stage races in August and to ensure none of our riders are left sitting on the sidelines.”

“All 28 of our riders will return to racing by the end of the first week of August in what will essentially feel like the start of a new season,” Bauer continued.

Van Avermaet will be looking for stage wins at the Tour to add to the two currently on his palmarès, and will continue his quest for that ever-elusive victory at the Tour of Flanders to add to his past successes at Paris-Roubaix and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

“Despite the changes in the race calendar, all of my goals remain largely the same and I will focus on the Classics and the Tour de France,” Van Avermaet said. “I will restart my season with Strade Bianche, a race I still hope to win. It’s going to be strange to line up with not many races in the legs but at the end of the day, it’s the same for everyone.”

“After the Tour de France, I’ll be turning my attention back to the classics with Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Gent-Wevelgem, Ronde van Vlaanderen, and Paris-Roubaix on my program,” he continued. “For me, it doesn’t matter what time of the year we race the classics, I know I’ll be just as hungry to win in October.”

The squad’s future is still in doubt as team president Jim Ochowicz hunts for a replacement for title sponsor CCC, who are ending their sponsorship of the team at the close of the season. For now, though, racing is on and approaching fast.